Training the abdominal muscles using the pull up bar isn’t easy, especially for beginners and overweight people. However, if you can do the ab workouts on the pull up bar, try all exercises that I’ll share in this article.
- Hanging Bicycle
- Oblique Twist
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Hanging Knee Raise
- Toes To Bar
- L hang
- Hanging Windshield Wipers
- Pull up Bar Ab Crunches
- Knees To Elbow
- Pull up Bar Flutter Kicks
- Side Leg Raise
- Hanging Leg Circles
These exercises are challenging but doing them consistently will give you various benefits.
Benefits of Doing Ab Workouts with Pull up Bar
Performing the ab workouts on pull up bar increases core strength; builds six-pack abs faster; boosts your sports and weightlifting performance; and reduces the risk of low back injuries1Baerga-Varela L, Abréu Ramos AM. Core strengthening exercises for low back pain. Bol Asoc Med P R. 2006 Jan-Mar;98(1):56-61. PMID: 19610550. Moreover, they help you improve your balance and grip strength.
The Best Pull Up Bar Ab Workout To Get Six Pack Abs Faster
1. Hanging Paddle Crunch
The hanging paddle crunch is one of my favorite exercises I often do to train my abs with the pull up bar. It works on various muscles simultaneously, such as the forearms, back, hips, and primarily abs.
Instructions to perform paddle crunches on the pullup bar
- Get on a pullup bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar firmly, and hang straight.
- Raise your legs at your hips level so that your body forms an “L” shape.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged, bring your one knee in as the other knee goes out (like a bicycle pedal motion).
- Perform each rep in the controlled range of motion and complete two sets of 10 reps each.
Keep your legs straight down and pedal your feet down instead of at hips level to make it easier. It can be a good one for beginners to start. And as you progress through, you’ll be ready to perform the above one.
2. Pullup bar Oblique Twist
The oblique twist is one of the best pull up bar abs workouts, especially for the internal and external oblique.
If you want to sculpt your love handles, you can try this exercise. It helps you build defined abs.
Here’s how to do it:
- Hang onto the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your legs are straight downward.
- Now bend your knees and tuck them in front of your chest. After that, twist them to the right and then to the left.
- Then lower back down and again bend your knees and raise at chest level and repeat the same steps as many times as you can.
To make it harder, twist both sides for the desired number of reps without dropping your legs down.
You can try one more variation, but it will be more challenging. To perform the harder variation, keep your legs straight in front of you instead of bending your knees. And then twist both sides as many times as you can without lowering your legs down.
3. Pullup bar hanging leg raise
Strengthening the lower abs is one of the most challenging things to do. There are only a few exercises that help you do that, and leg raise is one of them. The hanging leg raise strengthens the core2 Park DJ, Park SY. Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2019;32(5):797-802. DOI: 10.3233/BMR-181122 improves your balance and thickens the rectus abdominish muscles.
Steps to perform the hanging leg raise:
- Get on a pullup bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Brace your core and lift your legs in front of you until they are parallel to the ground.
- Then, squeezing your abs, pause for a moment, and return to the starting position.
- Aim for three sets of six to ten reps.
- Do not bend your knees as you raise your legs upward.
- Perform each rep in a controlled manner to avoid excess body movement.
If you want to make it harder, you can do pullups when your legs are parallel to the floor. It will be challenging, but it works on the entire body.
If you think you need the toughest variation, then you have an option to use a dumbbell in this move. To do that, clamp a dumbbell between your feet and do as many reps as possible.
4. Hanging Knee Raise
The hanging knee raise is one of the easier pullup bar ab workout variations. And even if you can’t perform proper pullups, you also might be able to do this.
It solidifies the core, enhances gymnastic and calisthenic movements, and improves balance and overall performance.
If you’re a beginner, you can do it to scale up for other advanced pull up bar ab exercises.
How to perform hanging knee raise step by step:
- Hang onto the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and legs straight downward.
- Keeping your core tight, bring your knees toward your chest until your abs are fully engaged.
- Hold there for a moment, and then extend your knees.
You can also clamp a dumbbell between your feet to make this move harder.
5. Toes To Bar
The toe to the bar is one of the advance abs workouts that solidify the core and enhance speed and power. It works on various muscles, such as the abs, back, arms, and shoulders.
How to do hanging toes to bar:
- Hang onto the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your legs straight and together.
- Firmly hold the bar, keep your ab muscles tight and lift your legs so that your toes touch the bar.
- Make sure to engage your lats as you lift your legs toward the bar. Then slowly lower your legs back to the beginning position. And repeat this exercise as many times as you can.
6. Pullup bar L hang
The L hang is an isometric ab workout where you have to stay in the static position for a suggested duration. It improves your core endurance, provides a nice stretch to the upper body, and helps you build six-pack abs.
Here are the steps to perform pullup bar L hang:
- Get on the pullup bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing away, and hold your leg straight and together.
- Raise your legs upward until they are parallel to the ground (your body forms an “L” shape). Do not bend your knees as you lift your leg.
- Hold in this position for as long as possible and make sure your abs are fully engaged.
You can hold a dumbbell between your feet to make it more challenging.
7. Hanging Windshield Wipers
The hanging windshield wiper is more advanced or the toughest pull up bar ab exercise. It reinforces the entire core muscles, such as the abs and oblique, and scales you up for calisthenics movements.
How to do Hanging Windshield Wipers
- Hang on the pullup bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart and palms facing away. Keep your leg straight and, together with your feet, are facing downward.
- Raise your legs toward the ceiling until they are horizontally straight.
- Keeping your legs straight, rotate them from side to side as many times as possible.
You can slightly bend your knees and then twist from side to side to make it easier. So, you can try and see if you can do it or not.
8. Pullup bar Ab Crunches
You can also perform crunches on the pull bar with the help of hanging straps. The hanging crunches work more on the lower abdomen than lying crunch and help you develop muscular abs.
- Connect the hanging straps to the pullup bar and put your elbows into it.
- Grab the top of the straps with your hands (Let your body hang by the support of the straps). And keep your legs straight and, together with your heels, face the ground. That’s your starting position.
- Keeping your abs tight, raise your knees toward your upper body but do not rise too high, then lower them down and repeat as many times you can.
9. Hanging Knee To Elbow
This is an easier variation of the toe to bar ab exercise. Because in this variation, you don’t have to raise your legs all the way up. You just need to bring your knees toward your elbows. You can see below how to do this.
- Hang on a pullup bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, and your legs are straight and together downward.
- Firmly hold the bar, keep your ab muscles tense and lift your legs all the way up so that your knees touch your elbows or come close to your elbows.
- Make sure your lats are engaged as you lift your knees toward your elbows. And then slowly lower your legs back to the beginning position. And repeat this exercise as many times as you can.
10. Pullup bar Flutter Kicks
The flutter kick is also a core strengthening exercise that you can do on pull up bar. It stiffens your abs, improves hip mobility, and enhances upper body strength.
Here are steps to perform hanging scissors:
- Hang on the pullup bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your legs until they are aligned with your hips.
- Brace your abdominal muscle and move one leg slightly up and another down simultaneously.
- Do it as fast as you can for the suggested duration.
11. Hanging Side Leg Raises
It is one of the best ab workouts you can do on a pull-up bar. It will engage your oblique, improve hip mobility, and build a strong core.
Steps to perform:
- Start with hanging on the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and legs are straight and together.
- Keep your abdominal muscles tight, bend your knees, raise to the right side, and lower it down.
- Again raise your knees to the left side, then lower them down. That’s one repetition.
- Recommended reps: As many as you can.
If you make it harder, don’t bend your knees and raise your legs all the way out to the sides as high as you can.
12. Hanging Leg Circles
- Grab the pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly pull yourself up and keep your leg straight and together.
- Brace your core, raise your legs in front of you, and make a circle to lower them.
- Perform as many reps as possible.
Pull Up Bar Ab Workout Routine
Perform three rounds with as little rest between exercise and rounds as possible.
- Hanging Knee Raise – 10 reps
- Knees To Elbow – 10 reps
- Oblique Twist – 10 reps
- Hanging Windshield Wipers – 6 reps
- Hanging Bicycle – 20 seconds
- L Hang – 10 reps
- Hanging Leg Raise – 10 reps
- Toes To Bar – 6 reps
- Pull up Bar Ab Crunches – 10 reps
- Pull up Bar Flutter Kicks – 20 seconds
Doing the ab exercises on the pull up bar isn’t a cup of tea for everyone as they require excellent grip, forearm, and core strength. However, performing them will boost core strength, builds six-pack abs faster, enhance sports and weightlifting performance, and reduces the risk of low back injuries.
- 1Baerga-Varela L, Abréu Ramos AM. Core strengthening exercises for low back pain. Bol Asoc Med P R. 2006 Jan-Mar;98(1):56-61. PMID: 19610550
- 2Park DJ, Park SY. Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2019;32(5):797-802. DOI: 10.3233/BMR-181122